Gauge-Need help with old German Script


Lew, the “N” on your gauge is the typical “swung” style often used with the underlined “No”.
I did not look much into other countries but this style seems to be international, not something exclusively German as such.


Here actually some of the legendary SFM drawings featuring the “very French” variant of the “No” with the swung ends of the “N”.


Here a bit from people who know about languages and history of the “Numero” sign:


As EOD pointed out Russian uses this particular style of N in writing ‘No’ despite the fact the cyrillic alphabet has no letter that resembles the Latin N; they’re just following tradition. Jack


Alex, Thanks!!! The style is very similar to the French drawings, but the style of the gauge is German and the French had little use for a P08 gauge until after WWII.

Jack, Interesting input but the same applies to the Russian need for a P08 style gauge.

The only gauges I have seen in this style are the P08 and P38 German gauges from 1944 and earlier. I have gauges from other countries, but nothing similar to these pre-1945 German gauges. The post war West German gauges are similar but have a band around them. The East German gauges are similar but have distinctive markings.The markings on the only WWI German gauges I have documented also have distinctive markings.

Information on other German gauges would be interesting, particularly any before the late 1930s.



Lew, one of my points above was also that your gauge might be not German military and then the “No” will be no date indicator as for pre 1918 (or somewaht later). Hence all the examples above.


Lew - While I have only one pair germane to the question at hand, American Clymer
headspace gauges are very similar to the 7 WWII German Gauges and 5 DDR (East German) gauges that I have in 9 mm Para, right down to the firing pin clearance hole in the head and the small hole in the top of the gauge, as well as being basically “empty case” in profile.

John Moss


EOD, I agree that the gauge may not be German military. It could be DWM and used on both the military and non-military pistols.

I would really like to know if anyone has similar markings like No 3 on any other caliber gauges. If any of these trace back to DWM than that would be a clue.

John, You are of course right as usual!!! Really an annoying habit on your part… The Clymer gauges are very like the German gauges. Mine both have an alignment notch in the base, but there are likely Clymer gauges that lack these notches. Thanks my friend for correcting my oversight!

This gauge is apparently out of an old German gun collection. It is clearly not WWII military (my reference on these goes back to 1938 dated gauges). My documentation on WWI gauges is limited to a single pair of gauges that have very different markings.

It seems to me that the lack of the military type markings would imply use by a commercial organization, which would probably be DWM.

It would be great if Forum members could post images of other DWM gauges or other Pre-WWII gauges.

Gauges are tough to identify. Any help appreciated.



Lew, I have one set of Clymer with the notches in the base and one without them. That’s why I mentioned the ones “germane to the question at hand,” because the ones with the slot have that major difference. I am not sure it is an alignment slot, because a perfectly round headspace gauge should not have any alignment question, although it could have something to do with clearing an extractor, and thinking of it, that would be an alignment of sorts.

Maybe one of our Forum members knows the exact reason that some have these slots and some don’t???.



Thanks John, I just ordered a set without the notch, but the ones illustrated have a much wider groove than the German gauges or my current Clymer, so there must be at least three variations.



Lew - I suspect that there are many variations of these gauges, since they are a commodity regularly sold to gunsmiths, and even gun tinkerers like me. I have many calibers of headspace gauges, some for guns I own or have owned, and some bought specifically for the collection. I don’t think Clymer is the only company that has made them in the US, but they have a very fine reputation for quality of precision, so that is the brand I have tried to stick to. For my 6.5 x 55 rifles, I have a set of original Swedish headspace gauges, and for .30 Carbine, for example, some original U.S. Army ones.

By the way, another gauge that is made pretty much in the same pattern as the German “Stahlpatronen” are the Polish 9 x 18 mm Gauges. I only have one, my sole headspace gauge in that caliber, and it has the “empty-case profile,” the firing pin clearance hole in the gauge’s head, and the smaller hole in the top of the gauge, just like the German and American Clymer gauges. Another exception!

John Moss


I have been describing the style of this gauge as typical German Military. I decided to post an image of such a gauge. This is one of the earliest ones I have documented.



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It would be fun to put a list of known makers of these gauges with the way the maker is expressed on the gauge itself, and if known, the full name of the company making them.

I wrote what I believe was the first article on these gauges, but it has been so long that I don’t remember which Journal or Bulletin it was in. If I can find the article, will list the makers I had covered in there. Might be a few days though. I would suggest, for now, leaving it to 9 mm Para (9 mm 08) caliber gauges. The ones for other calibers are an article in themselves. I had over twenty when I collected 7.9 x 57, and there were many, many more.

John Moss


If only one would write a book about gauges…


I suspect (without having actually seen a specimen) that the slot was intended to clear the ejector. The Luger ejector is a leaf spring fixed in the sidewall of the receiver and under constant tension. Getting a gage into the bolt face while keeping the ejector out of the way could well be a little complicated without a clearance slot in the gage. Jack


Jack, I guess you mean the extractor no?

Swedish 6.5x55 gauges for example have a whole section of the head milled off to clear the extractor.



No, I did mean ejector, as it comes in at the side and is a flat spring it could be hard to work around. The extractor, being on the top of the Luger bolt should easily permit the gage to be inserted into the open breech of the Luger and hooked under the extractor. Understand this is all stated without having access to a gage for a real trial. Jack


Ah, ok, so it may always depend on the exact gun/system a gauge may be used at.


Actually, it is quite simple to introduce one of the German or American type gauges into the chamber of a “Luger” pistol with the toggle held open by the hold-open device. The point of the ejector is almost 1-1/4" behind the opening of the chamber in the barrel. There is no interference placing the gauge in the chamber by hand, as it would always be used. I just tried this in my byf 41 P.08. Of course, you MUST lower the toggle slowly and gently press it completely shut, at which time the extractor snaps easily into the extractor-groove of the gauge. To let the toggle run forward under full spring tension would likely damage the extractor, as the gauges are hardened steel.

Of course, it is the US gauges that are slotted and probably one of the pistols least used with these gauges would be a P-08, so I am not ruling out that the slot is to clear the extractor. In most pistol designs, I doubt the ejector would pose any problem at all in their use.

It is actually easier to hand insert one of these gauges into a P.08 than to do that with a loaded cartridge or a gauge with full, loaded-cartridge length as its short OACL makes it easier to thumb seat it.

John Moss


Probably the best known example of a headspace gage that is shaped to avoid contact with protuberances in the mechanism is the WW.2 version of the .30 M1906 gage, which was given a hollowed-out area in its rear contact surface so it would clear the plunger-type ejector mounted in the bolt face of the M1 Rifle. Checking headspace on an M1 with the usual .30 gage would be a somewhat complicated undertaking. Jack